Finding a job can be frustrating for most teens. Of course employers are looking for someone who has at least a bit of experience, but ironically, teens can’t get that experience until they get their first job!
If you are a teenager looking for more success in finding a job, remember, there’s no magic that will help you suddenly land one, but there are specific things employers look for when hiring a teen. Here are some tips you can apply when looking for a job that will help you secure that elusive first-time employment.
When you pick up the application
When you request an application in person, do so as if you were going to be interviewed at that time. Make a good impression. Some employers do interviews on the spot, so don’t get caught unprepared. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll just pick up the application, bring it back later and not need to worry about the way you look when you pick up the application. Even if you don’t have an instant interview, most employers will ask the person who gave you the application their impression of you.
Look presentable when you interview
You don’t need to wear a suit and tie or a dress, but your clothes should be clean, pressed, and not too casual. First impressions are very important and whether you think it’s right or not, you will be judged by how you dress. Your hair should be clean and combed. Ladies, don’t wear anything too revealing (cleavage and belly should not be showing; if you wear a skirt, it should not be too short). Don’t overdo the jewelry or makeup.
Attitude is everything
Wear a smile. Be polite. Shake hands firmly and thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet you. Act like you are interested in actually getting the job. Ask questions about the company. It doesn’t hurt to do a little research about the place you wish to work prior to the interview so that you can talk intelligently with the interviewer. In the interview, it is appropriate to ask about pay, but it should not be the first thing you inquire about — be sure to hold off on such questions until the end of the interview.
Bring everything you need with you
When you apply or go to an interview, you should have the following items with you: 1) Social Security card; 2) photo I.D. (driver’s license or school I.D.); 3) a list of good references with phone numbers and addresses — this should include adults you have worked with who know your character (teachers, counselors, clergy, scout leaders, etc.); 4) any prior work history with dates and phone numbers, even if this work was voluntary.
Always follow up an interview with a phone call or a visit (during non-busy hours) and thank the employer for the chance to interview and ask if they have made a decision yet. This may sound like pestering, but it is actually a good way to let them know you are really interested in the job. Most potential employers won’t interpret this as pushy. This contact should be made two to three days after the interview. In addition, it is appropriate to ask during the interview, “When do you plan on making a decision?”
There will always be more applicants than there are positions for a job, so give yourself every advantage by investing the time to be prepared for your application and interview. Make yourself presentable. Go with all needed documentation. And most importantly, take the right attitude with you, going in knowing your own worth. If you are nervous about applying for a job, ask your parents to role play an interview with you. This will help you anticipate the way a potential employer may question and interact with you. If you will take the time to be prepared, you can go in ready to knock their socks off!